Two of the nation’s top mid major College Basketball programs will be under the spotlight as the Richmond Spiders and the Virginia Commonwealth Rams collide in the Farm Bureau Insurance Black & Blue Classic in Richmond, Virginia. Tipoff is set for 8:00 PM ET from the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
Sportsbooks opened with the VCU Rams favored by -3 points with the total at 128 on the NCAA basketball odds boards. At the moment, both the total and the spread have risen half-a-point each, so be sure to shop for lines to find the best prices and college basketball betting lines.
The Rams (5-3 SU, 4-3 ATS) had an amazing run in the NCAA
tournament last year reaching the “Final Four”. They’ve won two straight and covered
in four consecutive games entering tonight’s clash. Since losing to 13th
ranked Alabama on the November 27, the Rams have beaten South Florida and
In their 75-60 rout of GW, senior Bradford Burgess posted
his fifth straight game in double figures with 18 points while Juvonte Reddic
and Rob Brandenberg each had 10 points. VCU is now averaging 65.2 points per
game while limiting opponents to 60.8 ppg.
Richmond is also on a roll. The Spiders (6-2 SU, 3-2 ATS)
have won and covered in three straight including an impressive 70-62 decision
over ACC opponent Wake Forest on Saturday. Guard Kendall Anthony led the way
with 21 points while Cedrick Lindsay added 15.
Spiders coach Chris Mooney has done a
solid job with a young team that has just one returning starter (Darien
Brothers) from last year’s 29-win team. While the faces have changed the game
plan hasn’t. It’s still all about defense at Richmond.
After holding the opposition to 40 percent shooting from the field
and to under 60 points a game in 2010-11, the Spiders have come back and held
their foes to just 35.5 percent shooting and just 60.6 points a game through
Only two teams, Davidson and Illinois, have scored more than 60
points against the Spiders. Over the three-game span in the Cancun Classic, which
produced wins over Sacred Heart and Rutgers and the loss to the Illini, the
Spiders held their opponents to a combined 9-of-50 shooting from three-point
range, a measly 18.0 percent.
Beyond the arc
Brothers has been the team’s main source of long distance dialing.
He’s knocked down 17 of his 35 three point chances (48.6 percent) and is
averaging 10.5 points per game. Freshman Kendall Anthony leads the team with
15.4 ppg followed by Lindsay at 11.5 ppg. Derrick Martin is the other Spider in
double figure scoring with 10 points per game.
Still a contender
This VCU team doesn’t have the deep, experienced lineup that took them to the Final Four, but there is enough young talent to once again challenge for
the CAA title. Burgess (14.1 ppg) leads the team in scoring and isn’t afraid to
mix it up on the defensive end.
Darius Theus is an emerging star at point
guard, while Brandenberg (10 ppg) brings a consistent all-around game every
night. Both Reddick and J.D. Haley are beasts on the boards and among the
better shot blockers in the league. If the Rams make it back to the tournament
again, it will be due in large part to its defense and head coach.
Smart, who is in his third year at VCU, guided the team to a 28-12
overall record in 2010-2011 including a 12-6 record in the CAA. Entering the
season he was averaging 27 victories in his first two campaigns.
Richmond is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 games overall but 3-8 ATS vs.
Virginia Commonwealth. The favorite has gone 7-1 vs. the number in the last
eight series meetings.
Harvey’s Take: This has been a great rivalry over the years but one that’s been
dominated by the favorite. I’ll stick with tradition and lay the low number
with Smart’s team. Take VCU.